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Meghan E. Grossman

Fashion photography is the use of photography to communicate the latest trends in clothing. It acts as a representation of popular taste and is created to serve a commercial industry, yet it has also served as an avenue for change, pushing the boundaries of acceptability with innovations in style, technique, and the portrayal of fashion. Fashion photography was a democratizing force in the acceptance of photography, as it brought the new form of expression to an audience of every social level, rich or poor, urban or suburban. Via mass media, photography serves to relate changes in fashion over long distances and many cultures, primarily disseminating the styles of high fashion in Paris, Milan, or New York to the rest of the world.

Fashion photography as it exists today falls into three main categories: editorial, advertising, and documentary. In the first category, photographs are commissioned by a publication to provide the “news” in fashion to its audience. These photographs are intended to feature the best designs of the current season, without monetary compensation from the companies whose products are included. Editorial photographs are often tied together by theme or narrative, to create a coherent multi-page spread featuring several different designs. Advertising photographs are commissioned by the design house, manufacturer, or retailer to feature a product or brand identity. The company pays for the space in which the advertising photograph appears. Finally, fashion design companies often commission photographers to document their collections; these photographs can be used in-house for documentary purposes or published in the form of a catalog, which serves as additional advertising. Depending on the purpose of the assignment, the photographer may choose to feature the clothes on a model, or hide fashion pieces amongst a jumble of unrelated objects. The goal of the photographer is to elevate the clothing to its highest status, the “fashion object,” through visual cues, lighting, composition, and creativity. Photography has served to add prestige to fashionable clothes since its introduction....

Article

Lourdes Font

(b Paris, 1902; d Paris March 14, 1955).

French fashion designer (see figs 1 and 2 ). From 1925 to 1953, Rochas was an innovator in Paris fashion. In the1930s he was known for architectural suits and coats, bold graphic patterns and Surrealist details, and in the post-war period for romantic designs inspired by the 19th century.

Rochas founded his Paris couture house in 1925, and within two years copies of his modern and practical daywear were sold in New York City department stores. In 1929 he was among those leading the way toward a new silhouette by raising waistlines and lowering hemlines. In 1931 he was inspired, like Elsa Schiaparelli , by the South-east Asian architecture and Balinese dancers at the Exposition Coloniale in Paris. By the end of the year he had shown broader shoulders and fuller sleeves in his collections. He continued the South-east Asian theme with his ‘Angkor’ coat of 1934, which had peaked shoulders, sleeves forming sharp points at the elbow and a silver-plated belt shaped like a palm frond. Other designs had flanges at the neckline and shoulders that projected from the body like cantilevered walls (...

Article

Elizabeth Q. Bryan

(b Rome, Sept 10, 1890; d Paris, Nov 13, 1973)

Italian-born French fashion designer. Although Schiaparelli began her career with sportswear in the late 1920s, she is remembered for her Surrealism designs of the 1930s, often created in collaboration with such artists as Salvador Dalí, Jean Cocteau and Marcel Vertès. The drama of her original embroideries, vivid colours and strikingly witty accessories overshadows the simplicity of her sharply tailored suits and slender evening dresses (see fig. 1 and 2 ). Her ultimate success as a designer stemmed from her original sense of style and her instinctive attraction to the most avant-garde artistic circles.

Schiaparelli was born in Rome to a family of scholars and scientists and was educated in Switzerland and England. In London she fell in love in 1914 with the theosophist Wilhelm Wendt de Kerlor and married him without her family’s approval later that year. From 1914 to 1920 Schiaparelli and her husband led a precarious and bohemian existence, travelling from Britain to France to the United States. Along the way Schiaparelli met members of the international avant-garde, among them the Dadaist ...

Article

Joyce Zemans

(Leonard)

(b Shoeburyness, Essex, Feb 4, 1909; d Vancouver, BC, Nov 22, 1998).

Canadian painter, draughtsman and writer of English birth. In 1912 his family emigrated to British Columbia. Educated at Victoria College, BC (1926–7), and the Provincial Normal School in Victoria (1929), he studied art at the Euston Road Art School, London (1937), the André Lhote School of Art, Paris (1938), and the Art Students’ League, New York (1948–9). From 1929 to 1937 he taught art to children in Vancouver and in 1938 joined the Vancouver School of Art, where he was head of painting and drawing from 1945 to 1966. In 1944–5 he served with the Canadian war artists. In 1955 he became the first instructor at the Emma Lake Workshop, Regina College, Sask. He also executed costume and poster designs for theatre and dance, as well as murals for Edmonton Airport, the National Arts Centre, Ottawa, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Vancouver....

Article

Nele Bernheim

Surrealism was a 20th-century international intellectual movement centred in Paris. It was characterized by the belief in the creative powers of the subconscious mind. Initially manifested in literature, from the mid-1920s onwards Surrealism extended to the visual and decorative arts, and from then on Surrealism developed a mutual affinity with fashion. On the one hand, fashion was appropriated by Surrealists as a symbol of the ephemeral and of metamorphosis, and it provided artists with a powerful metaphor. On the other hand, Surrealism, with its disconcerting imagery, its displacement of conventional elements, its quest for convulsive beauty and its propensity to surprise and shock, was exploited by couturiers who had strong bonds with the avant-garde ( see fig. ). This interaction reached its apogee in Paris in the late 1930s.

As early as 1927, the Belgian couture house Norine appliquéd a Max(imilian) Ernst design onto a sports ensemble. That same year, ...